Despite having a season that didn’t meet standards, the Tigers (18-14) entered Allen Fieldhouse tonight in the second round of the WNIT with a chance to erase all ill will toward this season. Missouri had an opportunity to knock out their arch-rivals, the kansas Jayhawks, a team they hadn’t faced since 2012 when Mizzou left for the SEC. Unfortunately, the Jayhawks were queens of the moment as they rode a 50% shooting night from beyond the arc to a 75-47 shellacking of the Tigers to end their season.
Defensively, the Tigers had a very tough time contesting the Jayhawks' shots and putting them in uncomfortable positions. Their entire starting lineup scored in the double-digits and shot very efficiently despite not getting many second-chance points.
Missouri got efficient scoring from their star guard Hayley Frank but just could not get consistent scoring from anyone else in the lineup. After a solid showing in the turnover category against Illinois State (only 9), the Tigers reverted back to their old ways and turned the ball over 16 times, which is far higher than the 10 max Head Coach Robin Pingeton likes to see from her players.
While Ashton Judd and Lauren Hansen were tied for second-most points in the box score tonight with nine, what cannot be ignored is the two combined for 8-24 shooting and 2-11 from three-point range. Hansen and Judd shot nearly half the team's shots and more than half of the team's three-pointers and didn’t knock them down, and ultimately it cost Missouri when facing a hot-shooting team like the kU team they saw tonight.
A loss to your rival will always sting, but this can also be looked back on as a big wake-up call for not only Robin Pingeton, but this group as a whole for next season. If anything is going to make a group even hungrier in the next season, it’s losing like this.
Mizzou really let this game get away from them in the third quarter, as they were already down 42-26 heading into it, and proceeded to only score six points in its entirety. Late in the season, such has been characteristic of this Missouri team, having full quarters where they score in single digits and let the game get away from them.
Besides hitting their shots (obviously), kansas also did a much better job than the Tigers of getting to the free throw line, as they shot 12 more FT and made 11 more than the Tigers. Missouri did outrebound kansas 27-24, which can be seen as a small victory in a club of defeats at this point.
The Jayhawks shot 25-49 from the field and 10-20 from three and were led by Zakiyah Franklin, who shot 7-9 from the field and 5-6 from three-point range, good for 21 points. Meanwhile, the Tigers shot 19-51 from the field and only 5-21 from three. Frank led all the Tigers in scoring shooting 6-13 and picking up 17 points. She was the Tigers’ only double-digit scorer.
Another short stay in the WNIT is decidedly not what the doctor ordered for Coach Pingeton, and Tiger fans will be keen to see if she’s still at the helm after this offseason. In the postgame, Pingeton said she plans on utilizing the transfer portal this offseason in combination with the players coming back and the great incoming recruiting class. Pingeton will be evaluated on whether she can bring in top talent from the portal, and whether she stays or goes depends on it.
Talked to Pingeton postgame. She stressed a few things:— Chris Kwiecinski (@OchoK_) March 21, 2023
1. She's going to recruit the portal on top of her solid incoming freshmen.
2. The staff is preparing to change up a lot to make this work.
This might be a different-looking team in a few months.